One decade after dropping a binding arbitration clause, JPMorgan Chase has quietly but certainly reinstated it. In May 2019, the financial institution’s various credit card holders received an email detailing its account terms. The email launched with plenty of legal jargon relating to specific tweaks, which included the reintroduction of forced arbitration.
Per Fast Company, the new agreement now includes a section called “Binding Arbitration,” which states that all disputes between Chase customers and the bank must be resolved through binding arbitration. Customers thereby give up the right to go to court, except for matters that may be resolved in small claims court. Further, the agreement states that “arbitration will proceed on an individual bases, so class actions and similar proceedings will not be available to you.”
It is important to note that the Chase arbitration agreement would apply not only to current customers’ accounts, but it would also include any claims between customers and the bank, such as those involving any prior account or accounts.
Why Has Chase Reintroduced Its Arbitration Clause?
In a June 2019 New York Times article, Patricia Wexler, a spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase stated that “data shows that arbitration is often faster and less expensive, featuring better outcomes for our customers.”
While Chase is one of the larger financial institutions adopting and implementing an arbitration clause, they are far from alone. Pew Charitable Trusts cites that 72 percent of banks began using a similar clause as of 2016, which was a 59 percent leap from just 2013.
Which Chase Credit Cards Feature the Arbitration Clause?
When Chase first announced the reinstatement of the arbitration clause, only the bank’s Slate credit cards were listed. However, since that time, the banking institution has announced that additional Chase credit cards are subject to arbitration, including the following:
- United MileagePlus
- Amazon Rewards Visa Signature
This unusual move in the banking industry affects nearly 50 million customers. Many of those customers have expressed disappointment and anger with the bank, citing that the binding arbitration is a way to remove customer protections.
Can Customers Opt Out of the Arbitration Clause?
In the fine print of the email announcing the arbitration clause, customers will find a way to opt out. Customers may reject the arbitration by sending the bank a hard copy letter by way of U.S. Post by early August 2019. The official and precise date varies by customer and their respective account or accounts. Customers should take careful note that notifying Chase via telephone call or online measures will not count as rejection of the clause.
Customers can access an easy-to-use template shared via Google document, containing all the appropriate language and the mailing address for customers to opt out of the arbitration clause, if they choose to do so, notes Business Insider.